Nestled in its quiet corner at the entrance of Subic Bay Freeport, with a lush forest as its background, the four-hectare Subic Holiday Villas, originally conceived as a retirement village for expatriates, now accepts guests in one of its buildings acting as a condotel facility.
Going to Subic Bay, vehicles will actually pass Subic Holiday Villas at the left side of the bridge of the Tipo Expressway, right before turning right to Rizal Avenue, the main road in Subic. To get there, however, vehicles will have to turn around, passing Rizal Avenue before turning right to Argonaut Highway or the intersection where the Petron Station is on the left and the Starbucks on the right. Vehicles will have to pass the Bank of the Philippine Islands and PTT gas station along Argonaut Highway and turn right, immediately before the checkpoint ahead. Vehicles will pass under the bridge and need to turn left. Subic Holiday Villas is just several meters on the right side.
The location is ideal for guests who are looking for a quiet stay and a nice view of green scenery. However, guests need to bring their own vehicles to move around Subic, like when they want to visit the Puregold Duty Free Shop or the Royal Subic Club along Rizal Avenue. For a beautiful view of the famous Subic Bay sunset, guests have to travel quite a distance to Waterfront Road, where there are several restaurants including Gerry's Grill, Pier One Bar & Resto, and Seafront Restaurant.
There are also restaurants in hotels located at the Waterfront Road, including those of Moonbay Marina Villas, Vista Marina Hotel and Resort, Subic Park Hotel, Lighthouse Marina Resort, Subic Bayfront Hotel, and Courtyard Inn.
Although it is located near the forest, instead of the beach, Subic Bay Holiday Villas at the George Dewey Convention Center Complex in Kalayaan Heights has its own charms. It is large complex with walking and jogging trail and nicely designed buildings and villas. Its swimming pool is one of the largest in Subic Bay, although it can be quite crowded during summer, as it is open to the public.
Subic Bay Holiday Villas has ample space for parking. It has a beautiful Club House with a restaurant and coffee shop, a weekend bar, a library, function rooms, business center, medical clinic, a small gym, and a sauna.
For its accommodation, Subic Bay Holiday Villas offers studio type rooms, which are more spacious than ordinary hotel rooms. The cabinet is large enough for luggage. It has a refrigerator, a microwave oven, a kitchen sink, and an electric kettle, although cooking is not allowed. It has a bath tub, but water pressure is weak. Hot water can be a problem, as guests may need to wait for hours and constantly ask the front desk and maintenance to fix the situation. Simply told, hot water is more of a bonus, rather than a standard in this hotel.
As a hotel, Subic Bay Holiday Villas has some superior qualities, including its four-hectare property near the Tipo Expressway. It has the lush forest as a background, which makes it an ideal site for photoshoot. It has a large swimming pool, with a division for children and adults. The swimming pool area, however, is open for events such as wedding reception, and this becomes a problem for guests who want to spend time in the pool during the morning or the afternoon. A section of the swimming pool can be too deep at six feet, although guests have the option to stay at the shallower parts of the pool at three feet, four feet and five feet.
Subic Bay Holiday Villas has a jogging and walking trail for morning workout although its fitness center is found lacking in equipment. The buildings are nicely designed, in a park-like setting.
As a condotel, Subic Bay Holiday Villas struggles to provide a hotel-like quality service. Reception at the entrance is nearly absent, and no help for the luggage is available until guests reach the front desk. Be prepared to argue with the rates and package terms with the front desk, if you booked your accommodation online, like with asiatravel.com. There are contradictions between the hotel and Asiatravel with regards to packages. While online packages offer complimentary breakfast and dinner, the front desk at Subic Bay Holiday Villas would insist that it includes only breakfast, something that conveys a bad reputation to the hotel and Subic as a tourist destination.
The Subic Bay Holiday Villas' staff at the reception and maintenance need additional training on how to entertain and deal with guests, both foreign and domestic tourists. Surprisingly, it allows marketing guys inside to lure guests into timesharing investments, which are probably among the investment tactics of the owners.
At the coffee shop, be prepared to have hotdog and egg for breakfast and fish fillet for dinner. Guests will be told that food will be at the discretion of the chef – a bad line of conversation. Guests, offered with free dinner, are advised not to approach the coffee/tea table at night, as they would be charged PhP52.50 for a cup of Lipton tea.
Maintenance crew are at a loss on how to fix hot water and telephone line. Some rooms actually have missing telephone lines, which can be crucial during emergency situations. Hotel guests are placed in rooms fronting the parking lot, instead of the vast swimming pool with a scenic view of the Subic forest.
At night, window curtains are nearly transparent from the outside when lights are on, making it look like an aquarium available for viewing by those in the parking lot. There are no food or water provisions inside the small refrigerator. Television is not LCD, while cable signal is substandard. No wi-fi is available inside the room, although guests can have wireless Internet access at the lobby. Be prepared to use traditional keys in entering the rooms.
Overall, Subic Holiday Villas is a unique accommodation facility located in a quiet corner of Subic. It has a chance to be a great condotel, with proper staff training and improvements in its rooms and facilities.